WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The coronavirus is impacting students, businesses, and now farmers.
Coronavirus restrictions limiting local restaurants and businesses are now impacting their distributors as well, like farms.
With a reduced need in the supply chain, farms in western Massachusetts have been struggling to sell dairy products, especially milk.
"There's been a lot of extra milk in the market and the U.S. market is flooded and the northeast market is flooded with milk and that has led to lower prices for farmers. Farmers have dropped more than 15 percent just last week alone,” said Douglas Dimento with Agrimark in West Springfield.
Handling roughly 2.6 million gallons of milk per week, Dimento told Western Mass News that 20 percent of that is not being sold, so their focus now is to turn the extra milk into other products, such as cheese and butter.
“We have employees throughout the whole company working in the plants, volunteering time just to get products out the door, so we can try to salvage our business the best we can moving forward,” Dimento explained.
With many restaurants closed or offering limited to-go menus, milk is not a top seller.
Right now grocery stores, like Stop and Shop, are keeping the dairy industry above water.
"All of our regular customers - the Stop and Shop's, the Big Y's, the Market Baskets, all of our regular customers - we're continuing to push cheese and butter and dairy products out the door,” Dimento said.
With four of their plants located throughout New England, many farmers are taking a big hit during these unprecedented times. Dimento said they've been working with different leaders to figure out a plan.
"We're working with Senator Leahy in Vermont and Congressman Welch in Vermont and others here in Massachusetts to try and get some legislation that would help dairy farmers...throughout the country and throughout our region as well,” Dimento added.